Water

No more time for political games: SRI chair

By Country News

The NSW Murray region has been let-down by the NSW Government, according to the head of Southern Riverina Irrigators.

Chairman Chris Brooks said the Murray-Darling Basin Plan had had ‘‘devastating consequences’’ on the area.

‘‘It is beyond comprehension that successive governments have failed to protect us,’’ Mr Brooks said.

‘‘Reports this week that tell us the basin plan is based on false science are damn hard to swallow, even though it is something we have known for years.

‘‘You don’t have to be a Rhode’s scholar to know that the Lower Lakes were once estuarine, as Professor Peter Gell has proved beyond doubt in the CSIRO report that has just been released.

‘‘It’s the whole basis of the basin plan — keeping the lakes in their traditional freshwater state. But all along it was a furphy, to help provide massive quantities of water from upstream dams to South Australia.’’

Mr Brooks called on new NSW Water Minister Melina Pavey to demand action.

‘‘There’s no more time to continue the polite political games that have been played; that’s over,’’ he said.

‘‘We understand Ms Pavey is new to the position and it’s obvious she has been left a shocking legacy and an almighty mess to clean up. However, this needs to be done, and quickly.’’

Mr Brooks called on Ms Pavey, as a matter of urgency, to work with her state department and the Federal Government if necessary to provide an emergency allocation for NSW Murray irrigators.

‘‘Almost everything about the plan is wrong, despite the federal water minister telling us ‘it’s the best we’re going to get’,’’ Mr Brooks said.

‘‘Let’s stop the rot and fix it, before more lives are destroyed.’’